They were fun to watch because they took us back to the Barry Switzer and Tom Osborne days, but when it came to fantasy production the leaders of triple option attacks were ones to avoid. After all they were pretty much ball-handling magicians who were content to lead the march down the field, three yards at a time. They took their bumps and bruises, ate clock, and generally made life miserable for opposing defensive coordinators. And heading into the 2009 season there were two high-profile quarterbacks, Navy's Ricky Dobbs and Josh Nesbitt of Georgia Tech, running this scheme and worthy of fantasy consideration.
And when most fantasy drafts had reached their completion these two fellas were still on the board. And this will not be the case next season, because right now both quarterbacks are in the top ten of 2009 college fantasy football quarterbacks.
Saturday saw Ricky Dobbs follow up his win in South Bend with a five-score performance against Delaware, a game in which he completed five passes. He's accounted for a score in every game he's been healthy, and he's scored more than four touchdowns on four occasions. He now has 26 touchdowns on the campaign, with games against Hawaii and Army remaining. And neither the Warriors or the Black Knights call to the mind the 1985 Bears. So yes, we could be looking at a 33-score performance from this Navy junior.
Georgia Tech's Josh Nesbitt posted three scores in the win over Duke on Saturday. This performance gives him 18 touchdowns over the last six weeks. And if not for some early-season injury woes we'd see Nesbitt with more than his 24 touchdowns in 2009. And he's done it against a schedule comprised of some pretty stout defensive units.
So what do the seasons being enjoyed by Nesbitt and Dobbs mean for fantasy owners in 2010? Well they ensure that both Nesbitt and Dobbs will be drafted highly. And the nature of the position means that owners should invest insurance selections in both schools' backups, Jaybo Shaw (GT) and Kriss Proctor (Navy). And looking even further down the road we may see more college fantasy footballers presented with more triple option quarterbacks as draft day possibilities.
Georgia Tech is featured in this week's Sports Illustrated. After all the Yellow Jackets are only 10-1 and prepped to smoke Georgia again. The article addresses the perceived cons of instituting this type of scheme: one, that top-level players don't want to work in this type of system, and two, that the quarterbacks take too much pounding. And SI writer Albert Chen also quotes Nebraska legend Tom Osborne: "You have young coaches not wanting to do it because they're afraid they can't get jobs." Well 10-1 and a nice BCS check will likely open the eyes of some athletic directors.
We may see a rebirth of this attack that is so simple to run yet so difficult to defend. Will it take over the world like the spread attack of the past 15 years? Of course, not. But no longer will fans (or fantasy owners) point and stare when they see a team running this funny old wishbone thing.
Consider the triple option more like bell-bottom jeans rather than parachute pants. It may be coming back, and while only a select population can pull it off, it will no longer inspire mockery.
There have been better (not many, but some) statistical days than the one enjoyed by Ole Miss' Dexter McCluster. However what makes McCluster's 324 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns so impressive is the opponent. Before McCluster the Vol defense had been one of the bigger surprises in the SEC, as defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin had worked magic in turning the defense into more than just Eric Berry and a bunch of guys.
Granted McCluster likely only saw work in SEC fantasy action, as he only had four scores coming into the contest. And next week's game with LSU will likely not yield the same results as Saturday. But for fantasy owners whose playoffs extend into the following week or the bowl campaign, the Ole Miss dynamo has suddenly returned to the starting conversation.
This week I advised owners to considering sitting Stanford's Toby Gerhart. After all the Cardinal were heading to The Coliseum after upsetting Oregon, and this game had all the makings of a USC laugher. What the hell was I thinking?
Gerhart gashed the Trojans to the tune of 178 yards and three scores as Jim Harbaugh continues to put the rest of the Pac-10 on notice. This gives Gerhart 19 touchdowns with games against Cal and the Irish remaining. And don't think for a second that the smart kids in Palo Alto won't be anxiously awaiting the arrival of the boys from South Bend.
So what's my point in bringing up my horrific sit recommendation? One, I enjoy fitting in with the others who enjoy mocking me. And two, to apologize to Toby Gerhart and hope I never end up having to tackle him.
Blaine Gabbert's 298-3 now gives him 23 scores on the season, and fantasy owners have no doubt that the heir apparent to both Brad Smith and Chase Daniel is going to be just dandy.
Was there any way to predict back in August that a mid-November matchup between UTEP and SMU would feature two of the nation's hottest backs? Donald Buckram has been other-worldly, and Shawnbrey McNeal is showing why June Jones was so pleased to get his hands on this transfer from Miami. 11 of Buckram's 17 scores have come in the last four weeks, and McNeal now has 1112 yards from scrimmage on the season. And the SMU Mustangs are bowl eligible for the first time in a long time; the program has come all the way back from the depths of the death penalty.
If The Brothers Rodgers depart Oregon State at the same time it'll be an even greater sibling loss than Matthew and Gunnar Nelson bidding adieu to mainstream music.
With all due respect to Case Keenum, if there's one non-BCS quarterback that should be gaining serious Heisman momentum it's Boise's Kellen Moore. He's now accounted for 33 scores against 3, yes 3, interceptions. Is it just fantasy owners that are talking about this guy? Does he need Orbitz to get a trip to NYC?
It looks like one of my favorite sleepers, Cincinnati's Isaiah Pead, is finally starting to awaken. Will the Bearcat offense give him the ball enough for consistent production moving forward?
It's been a nightmare season in Norman, with nearly every Sooner skill player failing to meet expectations due to injury. However Ryan Broyles has gained over 800 yards from scrimmage with 12 scores in 2009. And it looks like next year's youth movement featuring Landry Jones, Jermie Calhoun and Broyles may prove capable of leading a nice bounceback season.
Wisconsin quarterback Scott Tolzien crashed the fantasy party of cool kids this week, accounting for five scores as the Badgers continued Michigan's horrific Big Ten season. And while he's not posted anything close to fantasy-worthy numbers this season, this junior could emerge as a very nice option in 2010 Big Ten leagues.
Kyle Padron posted 30 fantasy points against UTEP, and he's been impressive since replacing the injured Bo Levi Mitchell. SMU could have a serious quarterback battle on its hands this spring and summer, and the winner will be one for owners to nab in the early rounds of next year's draft.
LaMichael James has averaged 27.5 fantasy points over the last four games, with yesterday's 33 point performance against a decent Arizona State defense the most impressive outing to date.
Danario Alexander's 10-200-3 performance places him at the #3 position for wide receiver fantasy production. Talk about finishing up strong.
Luke Lippincott posted 32 fantasy points and Vai Taua put up 29 points this week, and they are clearly this year's version of Chris Brown and DeMarco Murray.
Austin Pettis has caught a touchdown in every game, and his four touchdowns on Saturday catapulted this Bronco into the #5 spot among top wide receivers this season.
This week's Syracuse vs. Louisville game has earned my vote for worst fantasy game of the season. A scoreless first half and a 10-9 final must've had everyone in attendance pleased hoop season is here.
The late scratch of Navy's Vince Murray and the concussion suffered by Ryan Mathews couldn't have come at a worse time for owners.
Can someone in Champaign please call Dr. Kevorkian? The Illini have the look of a last-place MLB team playing out the string.
Detron Lewis led Texas Tech receivers with 7-75 against Oklahoma State on Saturday night. And the Red Raiders' longest completion only went for 24 yards.
Promise me that Jim Harbaugh will be at Stanford for the next three years and I can't think of five better keeper quarterbacks than Andrew Luck. Coach moves on and all bets are off.
I'm no guru by any means, and I certainly hope he stays around. However if I have the #1 pick in the draft and I need a quarterback then I'm praying that Ryan Mallett decides he's had enough of campus life.
You'd have no problem if I asked you who led the country in receptions, as Freddie Barnes of Bowling Green has been head and shoulders above the others. Quick, now tell me who's #2. You mean you didn't notice that Purdue's Keith Smith has caught 8 balls?
I really believed that Colt McCoy would post about five scores on his way to a late Heisman push. But it's clear that Mack Brown and his staff have their priorities in place, and making sure their Texas Colt stays healthy ensures a shot at the title in January.
My own private fantasy teams
I was able to hold off my buddy Tony's game squad, due in large part to his choosing Mike Kafka as starter instead of Scott Tolzien, and now I'll face Alex in our championship game next week.
I'll need big weeks from Ralph Bolden and Jimmy Clausen to have any hopes of my second title in three years and preventing Mr. Esselink from back-to-back titles. Should be an interesting tailgate.
In our BCS league I needed huge weeks from Colt McCoy, C.J. Spiller and Daniel Thomas, and only Spiller could come through.
Now I'm just playing for pride.